The professor of Criminal Law, Patricia Faraldo, who was one of the drafters of the new Spanish legislation, acknowledges that they were aware that some sexual offender could benefit from the regulation.
The controversy surrounding the law known as ‘only yes is yes’ continues in Spain after nearly 300 reductions in sentences for sexual offenders, since it entered into force on October 7.
One of the experts who participated in the drafting of the norm, the professor of Criminal Law Patricia Fajardo, acknowledges that this scenario was contemplated. “We knew that the penalties were reduced, yes. Some, because others increased significantly,” he recounted in an interview in La Opinion de A Coruna, to which he added: “What we did not know was the reaction that the media were going to have in view of something that is absolutely normal in all penal reforms“.
However, this reactive application of the most beneficial norm for the prisoner keeps the Executive mired in tensions between its two government partners. The part of United We Can (UP), to which the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, promoter of the legislation, belongs, is in favor of not touching a comma; while the socialist side advocates retouch the regulations and increase penaltiessomething that would not solve the trickle of discounts due to the non-retroactivity of the most painful laws for the prisoner.
In recent days, the Ministry of Equality has assumed that this reform will be carried out, although it insists that the problem lies in the incorrect application by a minority of judges.
Merger of two crimes and extension of the range of penalties
Faraldo explains in El Confidencial that “a new criminal type” was created, merging the crimes of sexual abuse and assaultTherefore, “behaviors that were previously of little importance” were included, which inevitably made it necessary to “lower the sentences somewhat.”
He also recounts that “others were also uploaded”, because “a readjustment of all the crimes was made”. Thus, he lowered the sentence for some behaviors and raised that of others, but stressed that in this scenario they did not “expect this media uproar”, which he describes as “absolutely disproportionate”.
Faraldo maintains that what is happening is within the normal parameters and that it is the reaction of the media that gives the impression that “only the sentences have been lowered”, when at the same time “they have risen considerably in other criminal offenses “.
The professor maintains that what is important for the protection of the victims does not lie in the seriousness of the penalties, but in deploying the measures as soon as possible tools provided by law and that they are not yet financially endowed.
This decalogue of measures contemplates a greater endowment of resources for the Prosecutor’s Office and security forces dedicated to women victims of violence or specialized psychological and psychiatric care for them, among others.
In addition, the expert is positioned against the “punitive populism” and affirms that it is not in favor of increasing some penalties, which are already the highest in Europe. For her, higher sentences are not synonymous with more protection, since criminals do not take them into account when breaking the law: “Generally, they are unaware of them,” she says.
The head of Equality has also been repeatedly opposed to this punitiveism, although the reform proposed by the Executive of Pedro Sanchez, as pointed out by the Minister of the Presidency, Felix Bolanos, goes in that direction, in that of increasing some penalties which, however, may not be applied retroactively.